Co-op is pushing ahead with a new store despite opposition from a local shop and residents.
Mohammed Shafir, owner of The Late Late Store at 60 Belsize Lane, London, said the new store would be 150 feet away from his.
“I have boycotted Co-op’s own-label products after they failed to respond to my concerns about the new store,” said the Nisa retailer. “The proposals would lead to the brands competing against each other.”
Earlier this year, Co-op food CEO Jo Whitfield refused to promise RN that new stores would not be near existing Nisa stores, but she said Co-op was looking to expand into areas not currently served with Co-op lines.
“The last time my landlord spoke to Co-op management, they didn’t want to back off from their plans,” added Shafir. “Nisa is part of Co-op; they should protect us, not destroy us. We’re a family business that has been here for 20 years.”
Documents on the Camden council website reveal plans for the former restaurant site at 29 Belsize Lane to be converted into a 1,625sq ft convenience store.
Shafir said the new store will also threaten the future of local independent coffee shops and a greengrocer.
“The independents on this street are collectively paying over £100,000 a year in business rates. If we go out of business, the council loses that money.”
A petition by the Belsize Village Association to stop licensing approvals for the proposed store has 1,978 signatories.
A Co-op spokesperson responded: “We believe that a new Co-op store on Belsize Lane would enhance shopping options for local people, providing a wide selection of fresh, healthy foods and meal ideas.”
Read similar: Co-op grows market share